Wednesday, August 04, 2010
REL-Midwest - Enhancing Instruction In Rural Schools
- Nancy Burns, Superintendent, West Salem School District
- Dawn Nordine, Director, Wisconsin Virtual School and CESA 9 Instructional Technology
- Annette Walaszek, Teacher, Wisconsin Virtual School
Their response was entitled "Enhancing Instruction In Rural Schools".
Dawn was the first practitioner to respond to Matt's presentation. She began by highlighting the reasons why students in Wisconsin are enrolled in K-12 online learning experiences (and she also gave a big plug for iNACOL here - as I believe the slide was taken from content found, or often used, by that organization). She continued with the standards "equal or better" lines. She did present some interesting statistics about the Wisconsin Virtual School:
- 60% of students are enrolled in rural districts
- 83% are between the ages of 16 and 18 years old
- 170 school districts accessed courses through WVS in 2009-10
- top reason students take the online course is because it is not offered in their school
- average grade in 2009-10 was 84%
- average time spent in the course was 121 days
- number of hours spent per week in the course was 6-7 hours
She then discussed a study that they conducted with nine of their Local Education Guides (LEGs) from 2006 to 2008. They also found that the role of the school-based or local teacher was a critical role, and Dawn provided a series of quotes that were representative of the strategies that these LEGs used to keep students motivated in their online courses. Many of their training materials are available on their website (look for a LEG Resource link).
Nancy was the next person to speak. She began with A LOT of her own personal history in rural education and online learning. In fact, most of Nancy's discussion was a history of rural education and online learning through her personal involvement.
The responses finished with Annette, who also gave a personal story - although more focused on a specific program... A blended experience in the Algoma School District, which came about when Annette only had a single student in her AP Physics student. In the end, after the guidance counselor was about to rope another three students into the course, the district created a program with a total of 24 students - 4 students at Algoma and 20 students from around the state. The remainder of her comments provided details about this blended program how she managed it, what the student success was, and her perceived advantaged and challenged with the program.